Howington Striper Breaks Lake Oconee Record
Huge lineside almost tops the 30-pound mark.
A lake record that some anglers thought would never be broken has been rewritten.
The new mark for striped bass at Lake Oconee is now set at 29-lbs., 10oz., which exceeds the previous record by half a pound.
Rickey Howington, of Jefferson, is the new record-holder. Rickey had a week off from work, and he was spending a good bit of his time off at Lake Oconee dipping live shad.
“I had been catching an average of four to six hybrids a day, up to about 10 pounds,” Rickey said. On the morning of Oct. 28, 1994, Rickey was fishing by himself. After catching some live, 4-inch long shad using a cast net, Rickey headed to a sandy point near the train trestle, close to where the Apalachee and Oconee rivers converge. Using a Carolina-rig with a 1-oz. sinker, Rickey dropped five lines down so that the weights were on the bottom. By 8.30 a.m. he had landed one hybrid that weighed about 8 pounds.”
“I had four rods rigged for big fish,” Rickey said. “They were stout rods and big reels spooled with Kevlar line. Of course the big fish hit the smallest rig I had, which was a standard baitcasting outfit with 14-lb. test line.”
After a battle that lasted almost 30 minutes, Rickey was finally able to heft the big 38-inch long striper into his boat.
Rickey’s record may last forever. The striper stocking program at Oconee was discontinued after 1989. The average life-span of a striper in a Georgia reservoir is eight to 10 years, and is probably even shorter in Lake Oconee, which doesn’t have the deep, cool-water refuges that stripers require during the hot summer months.
Editor’s Note: Rickey’s record was broken in 1996 by a 29-lb., 15-oz. Lake Oconee striped bass caught by Fred Worthy. Striped bass stocking has since resumed at Lake Oconee and other middle Georgia reservoirs.
The previous lake record striper for Oconee before Rickey Howington’s striper was a 29-lb., 1.5-oz. fish caught by Christopher Daniel on April 5, 1992.
Lake records on Georgia reservoirs are compiled and kept by Georgia Outdoor News.
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